In the news: Pamerson O. Ifill
Deputy Commissioner Pamerson O. Ifill has been appointed commissioner of probation for Massachusetts, the first Black person to hold that post.
He succeeds Commissioner Edward Dolan, who was appointed in 2013 and retired earlier this year.
Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke, of the Massachusetts Trial Court, and Trial Court Administrator Thomas A. Ambrosino made the announcement last week. They cited Ifill’s 30-year experience, “energetic vision and commitment to improving the lives” of people served by the Massachusetts Probation Service.
“Deputy Commissioner Ifill has proven leadership capability, and his knowledge of the court system and criminal justice issues in Massachusetts will ensure the continued advancement of the department’s professionalism,” Locke and Ambrosino said in a press release.
As deputy commissioner, Ifill designed a text messaging notification system for criminal defendants that improved court appearance rates and is used in certain civil cases. He created a departmental training program on racial and cultural equity and established the annual Cultural Appreciation Week, held in the state’s courthouses in October.
“It is an honor and privilege to be named to this position,” Ifill said in a press release. “I greatly appreciate the trust that the chief justice and court administrator have placed in me to build on the strong tradition of the Probation Service, which began in Massachusetts in 1878. It is my intent and my pledge in this role to deliver access to justice with dignity and speed from the probation perspective to serve the residents of the Commonwealth.”
The commissioner heads the Massachusetts Probation Service and the Office of Community Corrections, which have 1,800 staff in more than 100 locations across the state. Probation Service works to increase community safety, support victims and survivors, and assist individuals to achieve long-term positive change.
In his three decades in Probation Service, Ifill has had numerous roles. He was deputy commissioner of pretrial services since 2019 and has served as regional supervisor of probation services, chief probation officer for Suffolk Superior Court and regional program manager for the Office of Community Corrections. Ifill is an adjunct professor at Suffolk University and Stonehill College
He earned a master’s degree in management of human services from Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College, and previously served from 2008 to 2018 on the board of Massasoit Community College, as chair beginning in 2013.